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Review of ‘Seith and Sword’ by Chris Challice

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2016 by Chall

A review of Seith and Sword.

Strange Currencies

Seith and Sword is the debut novel of Canadian author Chris Challice, and the first novel in the role-playing game setting Fate of the Norns. We follow the course of Vanadis and Gamli, Volsung thralls thrust into a panicked flight after their Neibelung captors are all killed under mysterious and arcane circumstances. As they travel around, they come into contact with a number of figures from Norse mythology and history, and come into their own powers as significant figures on this mythohistorical stage. While the novel suffers a little from some of the more common debut novel mistakes, those are forgiven since it is, in fact, a debut novel. Starting slowly, the story picks up and becomes increasingly engaging and interesting the further you read. An ambitious debut, and a great look into the myths, history and lore of a fascinating people that we nevertheless seem to unduly ignore…

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True North – Trickster

Posted in Cortex Plus, Roleplaying Games, RPG, True North, Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 14, 2013 by Chall
Oh snap! He has an accordion, run!

Oh snap! He has an accordion, run!

I grew up a scrawny wisp of a lad who got his ass handed to him in the playground every single day. The only time I won against  bullies was the rare occasion I’d outsmart them, otherwise it was Beats City for me.

I have no problem admitting this. It gave me a healthy hatred for arrogance and a useful suspicion against mankind.

As I grew up, I emphasized with wizards and tricksters.  Merlin, Luke Skywalker and Nanabush were my heroes.

Trickster then, is a callback to my days of getting the crud kicked out of me.  He uses his wit and cunning to take down the bundle of muscles I was afraid of as a kid.

Name: Trickster

Affiliations: Solo: D10 Buddy: D6 Team: D8

Distinctions 

  • Shard of Hermes
  • Cunning Over Strength
  • Secret Good

Power Sets

God of Thieves

  • Shapechange: D10
  • Enhanced Durability (Animal Form): D8
  • Animal Speed/Flight/Swim (Animal Form): D8
  • Silver Tongue (Like mind control but not psychic): D8
  • Superhuman Reflexes (Human Form): D10
  • Enhanced Reflexes (Animal Form): 8D
  • Enhanced Senses (Animal Form): D8
  • Growth (Animal Form): D8
  • Shrinking (Animal Form): D10
  • Godlike Stamina: D12
  • Enhanced Strength (Animal Form): D8

SFX

  • God of Boxing: Step up Combat while fighting unarmed in human form.

Limits

  • Limited Shapechange: You cannot transform into fantastical creatures. Just human or non-extinct creatures, limited by your powers. Some powers will be limited or shut down depending on the form you take, for instance a mouse can’t have an 8D strength, an elephant can’t have D10 shrinking.
  • Keep Your Hand Hidden: Every scene you do not use one of your D10+ powers or specialties you get 1 PP. You no longer gain such a bonus if anyone figures out just how powerful you really are.

Specialties

Acrobatic: D10, Combat: D8, Covert: D10, Crime: D10, Medical: D10, Mystic: D10, Psych: D8

Background

  • Childhood: When the Gods of Olympus left Earth Hermes left a piece of himself behind. Trickster is that shard.
  • Day Job: Anything but being a God. He finds it much more fun to help humanity without humanity knowing his true nature. Besides, it’d be bad if Zeus found out Hermes left him behind.
  • Origin: Trickster has always had his powers.
  • As a Hero: He truly loves humanity and has been helping them in secret for centuries.
  • True North: Trickster was unfortunate enough to be in St. John’s during a hurricane. He ended up trapped in a collapsed building. True North dug him, and everyone else, out and he’s stuck with them ever since.

Personality

  • Trickster loves playing the part of the ‘dodgy hero’ while secretly devoting himself to the protection of mankind.
  • He’s comfortable taking any shape or sex and has had affairs with all sorts of characters throughout history.
  • Trickster hates those who are arrogant or bullies. Laying low a callous braggart is one of his chief joys.
  • In relation to Hallow: Trickster’s methods are not to Hallows liking, so much that he’s been kicked off the team several times. This hasn’t gotten rid of him though. Secretly he admires Hallow greatly.
  • In relation to Grave Walker: He gets along well with Michelle, she has a sense of humor.
  • In relation to The Angel of Montreal: He’ll talk big about ‘corrupting her’ but secretly he’ll do no such thing. Woe be to anyone who takes advantage of his little angel.
  • In relation to Nanuk: He made a secret deal to secure Nanuk’s patronage of True North. He doesn’t play games with this old Bear God, the slightest misstep on the deal will lead to disaster.

Appearance
Trickster has no default form. Whatever form he/she’s in is his/her current mode. This suits Trickster fine.

True North – Nanuk

Posted in Cortex Plus, Fiction, RPG, True North, Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 14, 2013 by Chall
"Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minster, yes, lets discuss who owns the North."

“Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minster, yes, lets discuss who owns the North.”

Long ago 7 year old Chris heard Manfred Mann’s Mighty Quinn. Quinn sounded awesome and I wondered when he’d show up in the next episode of Super Friends. That was back when I didn’t know the difference between Marvel, DC and good taste.

As I grew older I fell in love with Marvel, and then DC, and then all my friends who liked Marvel would dis me for liking DC, and then I became jaded.

However, that catchy tune stayed in my head and hence Nanuk.

Before writing him up I did a bit of research and discovered the term Eskimo is offensive, hence why the character isn’t named ‘The Mighty Quinn.’ Also, after some soul searching, I came to the conclusion that, no I do not want an Inuit member of my super team being the ‘cute mascot’. Instead, I studied a bit of Inuit mythology and learned about Polar Bear; the Master of Bears. He is so powerful that if you successfully hunt him it’s only because he let you. If you do so with the proper reverence his spirit will tell his friends and you’ll be successful in further hunts. This, is fertile ground for an awesome character.

Thus, the cute little Eskimo in my mind became a regal spirit who’ll work with True North as long as he’s treated with respect.

Name: Nanuk

Affiliations: Solo: D8 Buddy: D6 Team: D10

Distinctions 

  • Gracious Hunter
  • Almost Man
  • Out of Seclusion

Power Sets

Polar Bear Spirit

  • Enhanced Durability: D8
  • Elemental Control: Blizzard Mastery: D10
  • Water Speed: D6
  • Cold Resistance: D12
  • Growth: D8
  • Enhanced Stamina: D8
  • Superhuman Strength: D10
  • Teleport (Spirit World): D10

SFX

  • Unleashed: Step up Superhuman Strength for an action. If said action fails add a D10 to the doom pool.
  • Immortal: If you die, at the beginning of every adventure make a roll including Teleport (Spirit World) vs the doom pool. If you succeed you manifest back in your northern home, whole. You cannot come back if the killing blow was mystical in nature.

Limits

  • Animal Spirit: If you want to talk to humans, as opposed to animals, you must shape change into your human form. When this happens gain 1 PP and shut down Polar Bear Spirit. Fortunately you can speak every language. If you want to reactivate Polar Bear Spirit, spend 1 PP.
  • Righteous Fury: If you are ever stressed out emotionally gain an ‘Enraged’ condition equal to your Superhuman Strength and 1 PP. You’ll be under the control of the Watcher until you take an opportunity to calm down or someone defeats the condition, in which case you’ll be out of the scene as normal for being stressed out.

Specialties
Combat: D8, Covert: D10, Medical: D8, Menace: D10, Mystic: D10

Background

  • Childhood: Nanuk is an aspect of Nanuk, the Inuit Master of Bears. His childhood was the dawn of time.
  • Day Job: This shard of Nanuk’s duty is to aid True North. Not something he would normally do but there’s no accounting for Trickster.
  • Origin: Nanuk has always had his powers.
  • As a Hero: Nanuk is a spirit, not a hero. Still good but there is a difference.
  • True North: To quell an Elder God in the far north Trickster struck a secretive deal with Nanuk. After the mission the nature of the deal made this shard of Nanuk stay with the group. He’s been with True North ever since. He’s rather frightening but  will respect human laws as long as True North respects him.

Personality

  • Patient, alert, the consummate hunter.
  • This Nanuk is actually curious about the outside world. He’ll try new things, just in a cautious manner.
  • He’s proud, and has every right to be. He’s not arrogant but won’t stand for an insult.
  • In relation to Hallow: Because Hallow respects who Nanuk is, Nanuk will follow his lead. That is unless his directions are unwise, however, David has yet to disappoint.
  • In relation to Grave Walker: The jackal priestess understands him, they get along.
  • In relation to The Angel of Montreal: She’s a half spirit with a kind heart. Nanuk will accept the occasional impropriety from her, she means no offence.
  • In relation to Trickster: Their deal will hold, for now. Nanuk will not underestimate him.

Appearance

  • Nanuk is a 15 foot tall polar bear with ice blue eyes and wicked claws and fangs.
  • When he switches to human form he’s a staggeringly handsome Inuit man, dressed in traditional garb that suits the current weather perfectly.

Updates And Such

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2013 by Chall

It’s been a month since I updated so I thought I’d share what I’ve been working on.

Knights of the Hidden Sun

It turns out simplifying the rules is taking way longer than I expected, so I’m still working on this. Also, some of my other priorities have cut into my KoTHS time.

That being said I hope to get back to work on Hidden Sun very soon. Expect more updates to follow.

 

Space Pirate Alice Black, Journey 1, Blood Tribute

Xenotropos is slowly, but steadily, working on the outlay and the art for the final book. Given how much in demand she is it’ll be a bit yet before Blood Tribute is ready for publication, that being said she’s got a very strong work ethic and will be chipping away at it in drips and drabs these coming months.

Fate and Conventions!

This has taken most of my time. Just this weekend I went here with Xeno where she sold a ton of art (and got many of said commissions 🙂 ), this April I’ll be here. At both venues I have been/will be running games. For the first I crafted a very fast Fate hack that worked really well. For the second I’ll be running a more crunchy Fate Secret of NIMH game and a Wushu One Piece game.

Once the April con is done I’ll have much more free time to work on Hidden Sun and a second adventure book which I plan to release for free.

Regards,

Chall

Knights of The Hidden Sun January 2013 Update – Reverence To The Lady In Black

Posted in Game Design, Knights of the Hidden Sun, Philosophy, Publishing, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Chall

Given Christmas/New Years I didn’t get too much done on KoTHS. That being said there was some progress.

Giving Reverence Where Reverence Is Due

In my November 2012 update I stated I needed to ‘tweak the Knights chapter. The current one is a little disjointed so a cleaning up and clarifying is in order. This will take a moderate amount of work.’ This is no longer the case.

The lion’s share of KoTHS background is written in IC. The first four chapters are nothing but history, news, personal experiences and advertisements from the game world. I found this cut down on dryness and made KoTHS hella fun to write.

The Knights Chapter was written as senior Knights handing down history and tradition to new recruits. I wrote it in a casual tone.

When Malcolm developed it, he changed the tone. The Knights became less casual and more reverent to their cause and Goddess. This irked me on first reading so I made a note to fix it. I reread the chapter again over the holidays and decided to leave it as is, here’s why;

My first rpg character was a 2nd Edition AD&D Cleric named Thohammer Folly. I chose a cleric because I wanted to A) kick ass and B) cast spells. I actually rolled a non-cheating 18 for one of his stats and I put that into Strength rather than Wisdom, because ass-kicking was Thohammer’s top priority, spells taking second place. As for exploring what it meant to be a disciple of Tamora, such a thing wasn’t even on my radar.

In my experience that’s how Clerics are played. They’re ass-kicker, healers and spell-slingers who give lip service to a deity.  The closest to displaying reverence these worshipers get is calling out the name of their God before smiting an Orc or sanctifying an area so pesky undead don’t rise. Some players don’t even pick a deity, they worship Lord Generic of the Coin and Hammer.

You know what? That’s is absolutely fine. My friends and I have had much fun running clerics in this fashion.

That being said, over time I found that I wanted to explore aspects of faith in my rpgs.

  • Why did my character choose his religion?
  • What’s her stance on her church’s dogma?
  • How does this faith manifest?
  • Is his Deity infallible?

So I wrote up  doctrine for each Cleric and occasionally  got into theological arguments with other PCs. Still, despite this, my Clerics never met their deities or even walked into one of their temples. There were no holy quests, no one seeking guidance, no machinations within the faith. The focus of these games were always killing monsters and treasure hunting.

Still fun but I wanted more.

I’d like to clarify this isn’t the material’s fault. I primarily played Forgotten Realms which has a TON of information on in game religions and cultures. I don’t think it was the fault of my DMs either; while I tried to throw in a rich, theological tapestries, I only did so IC and did not run any of these ideas past the people running the games.

Back to Hidden Sun. In Hidden Sun you play a Knight who serves a Goddess; the Lady In Black. The pact you’ve made involves trust as opposed to dogma, you can use her gifts for anything you want but your soul goes to her when you die. Both sides trust each other to do the right thing.

While this relationship is casual the major conflict in Hidden Sun stems from this Goddess acting against her brother, the God of War. Also, I specifically mention that meeting the Goddess is a BIG event that changes a character forever AND the Goddess, this ancient being of wisdom and power, regularly visits her followers throughout their lives.

So OF COURSE the Knights would speak about their faith and cause with reverence. Having contact with one who existed at the creation of the universe is something to be reverent about. Malcolm simply picked up on this and changed the Knights chapter to match.

This doesn’t mean all PCs in Hidden Sun are zealots. The Goddess demands nothing, not even worship, one can even have grown hate her and she’ll still lend her strength. What it does mean is that the GM is encouraged to make her important; to throw at the feet of the PCs Gnostic quests, audiences with higher powers and crises of faith. All the things I had hoped for long ago.

Hence I’m not changing a thing with the Knights Chapter.

That being said if your group just wants to run Hidden Sun as ass-kickers with divine powers, please feel free to do so; it can be most fun.

The Headaches of Star Travel

From an OOC prospective getting from planet A to planet B in Hidden Sun is easy: The GM says ‘It takes x amount of time, now onward to more interesting stuff.’ There’s no botching a navigation roll and having your ship collide with a rogue star. Granted, such things would happen in any Sci Fi/Fantasy universe but, at least as a player, I find such things annoying so didn’t include the possibility in my game.

That being said I needed to describe, in IC, how interstellar travel works. In Hidden Sun space travel is chaotic and hard to describe therefore Malcolm left it as a hurdle to tackle later. I’ve ended up tackling it.

Long story short I added a page and a half on Jump Gate theory and travel time to Chapter Three. I’ve tried to keep it short and descriptive so folks know how gate travel works, what it looks, sounds and feels like and how long it will take to get to the major worlds. I don’t think it drags on but the proof will be in the pudding when you lovely folks buy the book. 🙂

What’s Next?

I’m going to meld my character creation tweeks and further playtesting discoveries in the rules and GM chapters. After this it’s just some minor double-checks, one more read through, and it’s off to the editor.

Wish me luck.

Knights of the Hidden Sun Souls of Our Ancestors Episode #7

Posted in Dungeons and Dragons, Knights of the Hidden Sun, Radio Show, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Uncategorized with tags , , on December 6, 2010 by Chall

Here it is.

Sorry for the long delay. I’ve been super busy with the holiday season. I’ll try to get the next episode up sometime this week to make up for my lack of posting.

In this Episode: Trove’s story.

Also a quick note: Trent Radio’s transceiver is on the firtz, they’re up but only at half-mast. If anyone has any spare charity dollars please, please, please donate to Trent Radio. They need the money for repairs. Without them running this podcast wouldn’t be half as fun.

Learn about Trent Radio here and please donate.

Knights of the Hidden Sun Souls of Our Ancestors Episode 5

Posted in Knights of the Hidden Sun, Radio Show, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , on November 14, 2010 by Chall

Here it is.

Sorry for the long hiatus. Last week I attended HammerCon II and it pretty much wiped me out.

It was a real endurance run for gamers. I ended up playing DC Heroes, Pathfinder, a number of other games in their speed gaming segment AND still managed to run two sessions of Knights of the Hidden Sun. All in all not a bad Saturday.

This is the episode I played RIGHT after the con so if I sound draggy you know why.

In this Episode Rixel realizes that having a large black energy bow of death really isn’t helpful when you’re stuck on a derelict starship. To make things worse ‘Night Man’ from Episode 3 makes an appearance and Rixel’s not taking any chances with him. It’s a short story,half of it is Souls of Our Ancestors and the rest is about fun in Hammer Con but I promise tonight’s show (to be posted next week) will have a lot more Hidden Sun goodness.

Hope you enjoy.

Chall